In character tales.

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Post by Keeper » Thu May 31, 2018 11:04 pm

Lannacre. Sprawling city-port and largest city in the Kingdom of Thome.
The city spread over a wide peninsula that jutted out into the Bay of Heredimus like the forward end of a ship's hull, the land rising steadily towards the bow.
A fortress with high crenelated walls tipped the peninsula, huge shaped blocks formed the seemingly impenetrable keep and surrounding towers. The keep itself was constructed like an enormous tiered tower, crowned by the shining beacon of a lighthouse.
The walls of the fortress, standing proud on the highest point of land on the eastward pointing wedge of land, offered a commanding views in every direction.

North, the ragged coastline arced away from Lannacre to form the northern edge of the Bay. Then, at a miniature version of the Lannacre peninsula known as Foller's Head, it turned almost directly north and followed a relatively straight line off into the hazy distance eventually leading to the parched deserts of the north. The sea here was deep and the cliffs high. It formed a natural harbour for larger ships bringing goods to the many markets within the city that drew too much draught for the shallower waters of the southern reaches of the Bay.

South, the coastline almost mirrored the north. It was less ragged, the arc more gradual and the cliffs less imposing.
Several beaches lined the edge of the Bay and low thatched cottages and huts lined the beaches upon which countless small fishing boats lay like huge inert sea lions.
The waters on the south side of the bay were shallower than the north, and the enormous spur of land upon which Lannacre nestled shielded it from the turbulent storm currents that flowed from the warmer north and the gusting winds that drove them.
The land on this side of Lannacre was more fertile. The River Red, so called due to the reddish stain washed down from the clay laden hills to the west, meandered down a winding valley, fed along the way by numerous tributaries.

East, was just water. It stretched to the far horizon and beyond and was home to fleets of fishermen, merchantmen and the Thome Navy.

Westward over the city's peaked rooftops and towering spires, crenelated barracks the land rolled away in rough peaked tors and steep sided valleys to the mountains the formed the Kingdom's borders. The land north-west of the city was more rugged, a huge forest of tall arrow straight cedar spreading down from the mountains like a gigantic green lake. South-west the forest that had once covered most of the Kingdom's lands had been tamed in areas, the trees felled to make way for small towns and villages and farmland.

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Re: Questers

Post by Keeper » Thu May 31, 2018 11:06 pm

On still days, like today, a pall of light grey woodsmoke hung over Lannacre, smudge on the horizon for most of those that lived outside of the city.
Thankfully the strong, warm northerly winds would clear the smear away, rattling roof tiles and windows in their frames as it did.

The distant smear acted as a beacon for the beleaguered caravan the wound its way through the forested hills.
As the caravan rounded a corner or surmounted a hill, the distant city could bee seen with its brown-grey halo of smoke.
The caravan had travelled south-west from the arid lands to the north, many many miles beyond the Kingdom's borders.
Twenty dromedary beasts plodded slowly over the stony, uneven and rutted road that lead them through the Thomian countryside.
Khazun Amir made the journey once a year, leading the camel train across the desert and mountains, the central Palladian plains, over more mountains to reach this rugged land and eventually the city port of Lannacre. The beasts were laden with rolls of fine silks in waxed tubes to protect them from the inevitable downpours that kept Thome so green. Huge baskets of spices and exotic fruits, dried and sugared and ready for the northerners sweet palettes.
Among the many sacks strapped to the ungainly looking beasts were flowers and pots of insects and snakes, and other exotic reptiles along with gems, none of which could be found within a thousand miles of Lannacre.
Behind the beasts of burden came a long trail of men and women, their hands bound, their feet sore and bleeding from the arduous trek.
Slaves for the market.
They would be sold as house-slaves, galley slaves, some for the arenas of Ostimere in the far north, and some, who rode in the caged wagon at the rear of the procession would be sold to the pleasure houses both here in Lannacre and further afield.
Camels snorted, their drivers steering the humped beasts around the deep wagon worn ruts. Having already lots an animal and its burden of precious spices to the treacherous road they were not taking any chances.
Dotted between the camels were lone riders on horses. Men in armour, bearing shields and swords and keen eyes, ever watchful for bandits or marauders and imagining an ambush at every corner, behind every tree, over every rise. It was their only purpose on this journey – to protect the merchants and their merchandise.
Nobody spoke. All were eager just to reach the city they could now see ahead of them, perched upon the huge spur of land.
They were keen to get inside the city's protective walls.

The caravan’s escort comprised of warriors and scouts that Amir had gathered personally had proved successful in thwarting many attempts to attack the merchants, but they still felt the pressure of impending disaster around every corner.
The first camel emerged from a wooded road, surmounted a rise and slowed almost to a stop as the driver, a young man on his first journey to Lannacre was taken aback by the sheer size of the wall and gate that loomed high above, yet still a half mile ahead.
One of the escort riders, a muscular man with powerful arms and dark skin rode forward, pushing his horse along the crowded road. Many wished to gain access to the city each day, but the city guard vetted those vying for entry that did not live there. It was a way for the guardsmen to supplement their salary. If you had no money or nothing to trade, then you would be turned away.
As he reached the gate the riders way was barred by two of the red clad city guard whom the man leaned low in his saddle to converse with. One of the guards stepped away to a door within the interior wall. Within moments many guardsmen emerged and began pushing the queuing crowd aside.
Amir’s merchants led their camels past the many strange faces of the people of Thome. Most of Thome’s native citizens were pale skinned, a rarer thing indeed in the sun baked climes of the far north, and hailed originally from human stock. Nowadays every goodly race could be found living within its borders; elves, dwarves, halflings, Selishee lizard folk from the swamps of Kollair to name a few.
A group of tiny Halfling children stood upon the low wall that lined the road and waved at the strangely dressed, dark skinned men and their even stranger hump-backed beasts.
Amir urged his camel to the front to join the grim faced rider who had spoken to the guards. He handed one red clad man a purse of coins, the disappeared beneath the mans tabard in the blink of an eye.
Amir nodded to the escort who had ridden the entire journey from Ivarhim with him. This man had protected the caravan the previous year and proven his trustworthiness, a value Amir prized highly. It was the reason Amir had sought him out to repeat the exercise for this journey.
Together the two led the train of beasts and slaves through the narrow streets towards the merchant district and the large warehouse that Amir had rented over a year ago.
The unusual creatures and their dark riders attracted much attention as they threaded their way through the grimy streets, but journey finally ended without incident at steep roofed building not far from Paccos Square Market.
The camels were stabled, their burdens stacked neatly. Already the merchant had his men sorting it, ready for the morrow.

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Re: Questers

Post by Keeper » Thu May 31, 2018 11:07 pm

Outside, a halfling noisily pushed through then crowd that was finally beginning to disperse, but much too slowly for the diminutive gentleman's liking. The Northern caravans were always a spectacle when they arrived, but he'd seen them now, so it was time to get back on with his busy day.
Other people too had rapidly lost interest once the last beast had passed into the old building and the doors pulled shut.
Merchants, farmers, scholars, elves, men, women, dwarves, all now returning to their lives in the sunny streets of Lannacre, all of them going about their business, trying to ignore the stench that thousands of people living on top of one another inevitably creates.
Thankfully by morning, when the market opened the aroma of spices and cooking and wood smoke and perfumes would compete to drown out the background fetid smells.

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Re: Questers

Post by Keeper » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:10 pm

The morning brought with it more clear skies.
Cockerels called in the approaching sunrise, the natural alarm call for many of the city's workers, and shrill reminders of the night before for many of its revellers.
Despite the sun still being below the horizon the city was already a hive of activity.
Somewhere a young boy was throwing logs his father had split the previous night onto a fire that nestled under a furnace. Once the flames had caught he added coal and worked bellows to give it a boost.
“Good morning Talos,” the boy heard from the small back yard where he had collected the logs.
Beneath a mass of blond curls poked through a hole in the fence, a round face with sparkling blue eyes and bright red cheeks beamed at him.
“Good morning, Miss Rilda,” the boy replied back to his neighbour with a wave.
Talos could see Rilda's mother at the coup collecting eggs.
Beyond the small smithy, across the street a rotund dwarf was pulling a slow baked bread from a huge oven.
He smiled, pleased with their look. He took a loaf, hardly noticing its heat, and handed it to a slender old woman in a shawl, who wrapped it in clean linen, paid her four copper coins and left.

Out in the street she passed a young woman and scowled, turning away derisively. The young woman's face was made up, her bodice loosely laced so he bosom was accentuated but easily available. Her long skirts were split up one side so that as she sat on an old barrel outside a discreet looking house, smoking on a slander pipe, her bare leg was on show.
“Eyes ahead, Grandma,”the woman chuckled smacking her thigh. “More than you can afford here!”
The old woman shuffled on.
At a corner she turned, hoping over a mound of dung, and was almost bowled over by a lad of about ten years.
“Hey!” she called but the lad kept running, didn't look back but raised a small hand in apology.
Two city guards in their red and blue livery came running up all sweaty and panting.
“You after a little tyke in a red tunic?” she croaked to the first one.
The guardsman nodded, too out of breath to speak.
“The damned urchin plain near knocked me off my feet and took off down that-away without so much as a 'scuse me ma'am'” the old lady waved her walking stick in the opposite direction.
The guards nodded their thanks and took off down the street.
The old lady chuckled at their backs and continued on their way.
Further up the street the boy breathed a sigh of relief and whispered a prayer of thanks on behalf of the old woman. Tomorrow morning, he vowed, he'd be at the bakers and pay for the old lady's bread.
Setting off at a much more sedate pace he kept a hand firmly around the coin purse in his pocket. There were just too many pickpockets around and you couldn't trust anyone these days. He smiled at the irony of his own thoughts.

Four streets away, across a small bridge over a little brook, through the stable and up into the hayloft, over the roof and down a conveniently placed ladder, a woman in a once expensive dress sat on a dirty step and cried.
The well-to-do family had fallen on the proverbial hard times.
They'd lost everything. Their big house, their carriage, their servants and slaves. Her mother had had to get work, as had she.
Between sobs she quietly cursed her father dying. He'd been a member of the city council, but he'd been accused of being involved in a plot to overthrow the crown-prince.
She didn't believe it, of course, but what she believed carried no weight in the face of the seemingly overwhelming evidence of her father's involvement in the plot.
Her disgraced family were shunned by their peers, despite them not being a part of the scheme.
She'd saved every spare copper she'd earned. Mr Mahood, the halfling who owned the bookshop where she worked didn't really need an assistant, he knew every book and scroll in that place, but he was getting old and his knees ached. She was a tall girl.
So Mahood paid her a meagre wage to help reach the upper shelves and keep the place tidy.
It was after a week there that she'd gone to drown her sorrows in a flagon at the inn on the corner near the shop. There she discovered that her pretty face could earn her more in a night than Mahood paid in a month.
Having saved enough to put down a deposit on a small shop of her own where she intended to run a seamstress business with her mother, she'd ventured to the shop to meet the vendor's agent early in the morning with a purse full of silver.
Now she sobbed uncontrollably, their savings snatched away by some grubby little thief. She had no idea what she'd do now, just like the red and blue clad guard with her had no idea what to do with the distraught young woman.
Back in the marketplace a man paced about outside an empty shop. He wore a crisp tunic with a button-down coat inlaid with gold braid. A set of steel rimmed spectacles rested on the bridge of his nose, above which nestled a stern frown.
He glanced about the stalls nearby and the slowly filling streets for his client. The clock tower in the centre of the market showed it to be nearly seven,
his client was already a quarter hor late. He found that to be most inconsiderate. It made him think that perhaps he had made a mistake, perhaps he had not chosen the right client for the vendor after all, and he began to review his choice.
The young lady came from a respectable family, with the exception of her late father, who had indeed brought his name into disrepute.
But, he countered his own thoughts, was it right to judge those left behind by the actions of another?
It wasn't he decided again. Though he was beginning to think that the young lady was about to ruin what little she had left f a reputation.
Perhaps he should be angry but he found himself feeling saddened by the situation.
He waited for a while more, after all, he should give his client the benefit if the doubt, for his vendor's sake.
The sun was peaking over the crenelations of the nearby city wall by the time he finally locked up the empty shop and despite his best intentions, followed his nose towards the tempting small of bacon that wafted over the market.
Nearly a mile away, a ten year old boy handed a bag of coins to a thick-set man with mutton-chop whiskers and a round belly.
“She didn't see you?” he asked the boy.
“Nope. Only my back.”
“Good,” the man nodded appreciatively. He reached into the bag and pulled out three silver coins. “These are yours, good job.”
The boy grinned as he quickly pockets the coins.

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